The more things change ...


POSTED: Friday, March 27, 2009
This story has been corrected. See below.

“;Why can't a woman be more like a man?,”; Henry Higgins demands in “;My Fair Lady.”;

Why are men the way they are? Many women ponder that conundrum on a daily basis as they contemplate male attitudes on everything from sex to communication to that recently minted concept of the “;man cave.”;





        Place: Hawaii Theatre, 1130 Bethel St.

Time: Opens 7:30 p.m. Tuesday; continues 7:30 p.m. Wednesday and April 2; 8 p.m. April 3; 2 and 8 p.m. April 4; and 2 and 7 p.m. April 5


Tickets: $31 to $46, with discounts for students, seniors, military and Hawaii Theatre members


Call: 528-0506 or visit hawaiitheatre.com




Why ask why? Because when you understand that the distinction between men and women consists of more than the obvious physical differences, it's easier to deal with all the rest. And, whether you already know, for example, that the average woman uses several thousand more words per day than the average man, actor Isaac Lamb promises “;a really fun hour of 'therapy'”; as he explores the differences between the sexes in the stage production “;Defending the Caveman.”;

“;Men exchange information in a far more physical and less verbal way. That doesn't mean that men don't care what women are feeling, or what other men are feeling,”; Lamb said, when we reached him at home in Portland, Ore., on Monday.

“;I can go with my girlfriend to another couple's house—she'll go off and gather tons of information about the relationship and how they're doing, and I might have like a six-word conversation with the guy. But anything that is crucial for me to know I'll learn. It's not that I don't care about what's going on in his life, but we talk only about the most important stuff.”;

“;Caveman”; began as a one-man project by comedian Rob Becker, who wrote the script as an outgrowth of his interest in psychology, sociology and the evolution of human culture. Becker conceived “;Caveman”; as a response to the male comedians of the early '90s, whose shows were based on the premise “;that men are all pigs, men are all dogs”; and they should be proud of it.

Becker eventually passed the torch—or club, as the case may be—to eight men, with Lamb serving as the western-most “;caveman”; in the franchise of eight touring productions. He describes the role as “;a peacemaker in the battle of the sexes.”;

The show doesn't serve a defense of the so-called “;caveman”; attitudes of some modern men, he explains. Instead, it explores the ways in which differences in men's and women's approaches to the world are connected to their earliest gender roles as hunters (men) and gatherers (women).

“;(Becker) definitely illustrates the differences ... but certainly not to denigrate women. Rob's take on it was always very anthropological and how when we were hunters and gatherers in the wilderness we had very specific roles to fill, and (how) those things have carried on until today.

“;All the instincts that the so-called 'common man' has and the 'common woman' has can be traced back to there. It's all evolutionary.”;

So it is, for example, that men like to concentrate on one thing at a time—like watching the Super Bowl—just as their distant male ancestors did while hunting big game. A woman can do several things once, mirroring her forebears' capability to search for food while also tending to babies.

Lamb adds that the hunter-and-gatherer concept also applies to sex.

“;Sex is also a really good reminder of how we need to approach our own entire lives with each other. To have a constructive relationship ... instead of having a narrow focus, when a man wants to please his woman he has to broaden his focus and wander and gather and discover, and a woman has to do exactly the opposite. Women have like 90 erogenous zones on their body—men have one, basically—so a woman has to narrow her focus to please a man and a man has to broaden his focus to please a woman.

“;If you want to have good relationships you need to spend a little energy, go into each other's worlds ... spend some time there without judging it and let (your partner) know that you're willing to do that on a regular basis. That's what we do when we have sex with each other, so why wouldn't we do it in our normal lives?”;

But Lamb also believes there are times when even the most compatible caveman and cavewoman can agree to disagree: “;I don't understand you and you don't understand me, but it's 'cause we're different, and that's OK.”;





        » The stage production “;Defending the Caveman,”; opening at Hawaii Theatre on Tuesday, was written by Rob Becker. His name was misspelled in an article on Page 26 of this week's HILife section.